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Sun, 25 Oct 2020
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Attention

Two new cases of human H5N1 infection registered in Vietnam

Health authorities in Vietnam said Tuesday two new cases of the lethal H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus have been registered in the country.

The head of Vietnam's Health Ministry's disease prevention department, Nguyen Huy Nga, told journalists two women in the country's north had contracted the virus, which makes the total number of cases registered in Vietnam this year four.

Reports in May said poultry, mainly unvaccinated ducks that died before reaching three months, had also been found to be infected with the H5N1 strain in five provinces.

Authorities in Vietnam say more than 100 million birds have so far been vaccinated, but fears of the disease spreading around the country still remains.

Light Saber

Vaccine-autism battle shifts to federal court

For more than a decade, families across the country have been warring with the medical establishment over their claims that routine childhood vaccines are responsible for the nation's apparent epidemic of autism. In an extraordinary proceeding that begins today, the battle will move from the ivory tower to the courts.

Nearly 5,000 families will seek to convince a special "vaccine court" in Washington that the vaccines can cause healthy and outgoing children to withdraw into uncommunicative, autistic shells - even though a large body of evidence and expert opinion has found no link.

Ambulance

TB death: Colorado woman could have had disease more than four months

A college student who died of tuberculosis Friday at Memorial Hospital could have had the contagious form of the disease for up to four months, but health authorities say the public health risk is low.

Attention

Egyptian bird flu death toll reaches 15

The growing bird flu outbreak in Egypt reached new heights this weekend when the death of a 10-year-old girl increased the nation's death toll to 15.

Alalam Satellite TV reported Sunday that health officials have confirmed the recent death from the H5N1 virus, which represented the end of a two-month lull in such fatalities.

Question

Do fingernails reveal any information about a person's health?

To the extent that nails provide clues to health, these clues are usually too little, too late.

Years ago, when sophisticated diagnostic tests were not available, doctors sometimes looked to the appearance of nails for clues to a patient's health, said Dr. Howard Baden , a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "And the nails do change with some diseases. But by the time the nails are involved, the patient is pretty sick," he said.

Although not good for diagnostic purposes, fluctuations in health can show up as changes in nails. Many people, for instance, have longitudinal lines on the nails. But these occur with normal aging and "don't mean anything is wrong systemically," said Dr. Rebecca Kazin , associate professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University.

Question

Proposed Model: Competition, loss of selfishness mark shift to supersociety

How social or altruistic behavior evolved has been a central and hotly debated question, particularly by those researchers engaged in the study of social insect societies - ants, bees and wasps. In these groups, this question of what drives altruism also becomes critical to further understanding of how ancestral or primitive social organizations (with hierarchies and dominance fights, and poorly developed division of labor) evolve to become the more highly sophisticated networks found in some eusocial insect collectives termed "superorganisms."

In a paper published online May 21 before print by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a pair of researchers from Cornell University and Arizona State University propose a model, based on tug-of-war theory, that may explain the selection pressures that mark the evolutionary transition from primitive society to superorganism and which may bring some order to the conflicted thinking about the roles of individual, kin, and group selection that underlie the formation of such advanced eusocial groups.

Coffee

Sleep problems may affect a person's diet

Sleep problems can influence a person's diet. Those who don't get enough sleep are less likely to cook their own meals and, instead, opt to eat fast food. It is the lack of nutritional value of this restaurant-prepared food that may cause health problems for these people in the long-run, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

Mindy Engle-Friedman, PhD, of the City University of New York, surveyed nine females and 12 males, all undergraduates who completed a "sleep and eating habits" questionnaire. For seven days, the participants completed diaries, with each entry detailing how much sleep they got the night before and what they ate the following day.

Preliminary findings showed that individuals reporting problems with total sleep time, sleep latency and awakenings were more likely to eat restaurant-prepared or fast food rather than food made at home on day two than were individuals with no reported sleep problems. Further, individuals with sleep problems were also less likely to eat food prepared at home on days four and seven.

Health

Gabapentin Shown Effective for Fibromyalgia Pain

New research supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) shows that the anticonvulsant medication gabapentin, which is used for certain types of seizures, can be an effective treatment for the pain and other symptoms associated with the common, often hard-to-treat chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia.

In the NIAMS-sponsored, randomized, double-blind clinical trial of 150 women (90 percent) and men with the condition, Lesley M. Arnold, M.D., director of the Women's Health Research Program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and her colleagues found that those taking gabapentin at dosages of 1,200 to 2,400 mg daily for 12 weeks displayed significantly less pain than those taking placebo. Patients taking gabapentin also reported significantly better sleep and less fatigue. For the majority of participants, the drug was well tolerated. The most common side effects included dizziness and sedation, which were mild to moderate in severity in most cases.

NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz. M.D., Ph.D., remarked that "While gabapentin does not have Food and Drug Administration approval for fibromyalgia, I believe this study offers additional insight to physicians considering the drug for their fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition for which current treatments are only modestly effective, so a study such as this is potentially good news for people with this common, painful condition."

Health

Antihistamine Shows Promise in Treating Alzheimer's

A drug long used as an antihistamine in Russia is showing what some scientists characterize as surprisingly strong results in treating Alzheimer's disease.

Results of a midstage clinical trial are expected to be presented this week that will show that patients treated with the drug, Dimebon, did better than those receiving a placebo on all five measures of cognition and behavior.

Magic Wand

Scientists develop pill to delay the menopause

New drugs are being developed that could stave off the menopause, it has been revealed.

They could lead to a fertility revolution, allowing women to wait longer to have a child.

The dramatic news came from fertility expert Professor Robert Winston. He told a conference that researchers had found a protein which they believe could be developed into a pill or an injection to extend the life of women's eggs.